Ew in the workplace

A woman in my entrepreneur networking group asked for advice about being hit on, asked out, or when put in a sleazy position in what is meant to be a business relationship. She wrote that she refused to be silent about it anymore.

This blog is meant to be about finding oneself while traveling & keeping loved ones apprised of my whereabouts. It’s been poorly updated and today’s post is rather off topic, but I feel compelled to share a story I hope gives people confidence to speak up, find solace should they be able to relate, and create consciousness around the impact of words and desire.

Nine months ago for work I traveled to the headquarters of a new business development partner to lead an onboarding session for the staff and set up technology. Due to outdated hardware, I spent about 7 hours on site where multiple suggestive comments were made to me over the course of the day. At first I wasn’t sure if I was interpreting them correctly and gave the benefit of the doubt, so I disregarded the comments and ignored the discomfort. “You speak so clearly. Your voice is like a melody,” was one of the things he said.

‘He’s trying to be nice, maybe he’s just awkward,’ I thought. 

When it became blatant that he was interested in more – “We loved having you. I wish you were here more often. You can come anytime” with a wink and suggestive grin – I was paralyzed with disgust. I didn’t know what to say and felt a little scared, so I turned quickly and scurried off.

Immediately after I felt dirty and questioned myself. Was I smart enough, professional enough, meant for this role? Was I dressed inappropriately, did I give signs to “ask for it,” or could I ever be taken seriously? Did I smile too much? Wait, did I hear him correctly? Should I dress plainly from now on? Did I earn this deal because of my pitch or because of ulterior motives? 

At the same time my confidence was wavering, I was angry, sad, and distraught. I worked for a startup in the middle of a pivot and this deal was important. ‘I’m so scared to see him again. How will the next interaction go? What if he comes on stronger, what do I say?’ I cared deeply about the startup and competitive as hell I wanted us to make it. What do I do?

I’m lucky that I have great roommates and was able to talk it through with them that night. Talking through it and gaining a male and female perspective of the day was validating and helped clear the stirring in my head. I resolved to not ever let that happen to me again without talking back – “Hey, I bet you mean well but words like that make me uncomfortable and I don’t like them. We have the same goal to boost sales and get more customers – professionally. If clear professionalism can’t be done I’m happy to find a different resource for you.”

The next day I also told the cofounders what had happened in less than 1-2 minutes, clarifying that I was telling them for the purposes of letting them know what my stance was and what messaging I was going to give from now on. I wanted to make clear that I never wanted my ability to do the job be questioned because of my gender. I kept it short because I didn’t want it to be a big deal.

Going into this talk, I was scared they would prevent me from doing sales since the industry was basically men only. I was relieved and full of gratitude when they empathized, confirmed support of my stance & messaging, and found ways for me to continue this project but have less alone time with the partner moving forward. The deal and majority of in-person work was completed by this time, so further interaction needed was minimal. Because I was open about my fears about what they might think about my ability, they made clear that they believed in my skills and professionalism and cared more about standing up for me and what’s right than a deal. That meant a lot to me.

What I learned from this situation is that even if this hasn’t happened to you – it’s good to prepare for it and come up with a sentence or a two to “have in your pocket” in case it does. It’s much harder to say it on the spot when surprised by the need for it. I have always thought of myself as a feminist, strong, well spoken, and quick on my feet. In this situation I was taken back that it was actually happening that I froze. 

Although I beat myself up for not speaking up right when it happened, I know I couldn’t have done much differently in that moment because I didn’t have it in me. I hadn’t thought about it before and it’s tricky wording to not come off as dramatic or over reactive when emotionally raging inside. 

This type of thing needs to be called out so the other person can learn and be conscious of their impact. Do not reinforce the behavior by ignoring it and letting it slide. We have to educate proper behavior by calling it out. More needs to be done on top of turning away and avoiding it if we want to prevent it from happening again or to others.

If it does happen, talking it out makes such a difference in regaining yourself. If you’re an employee, ensuring your organization has your back and has the same mindset as you is also important. If you’re a business owner, realize that not EVERY sale nor EVERY customer is needed. Also, don’t let this sleazy encounter create doubt about your product/service. It’s about their lack of consideration and excessive pursuit of personal wants, not about you, your skills, or your business.

I feel for that woman in my networking group, and am proud of her for sticking up for herself, turning down work with unworthy people, and for starting discussion around this. This repost was inspired by her, and I hope it inspires you, too.

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The Nomadic Love Life

With the demise of my favorite app, Umano, I got turned on to podcasts.  Ted Radio Hour showcased “How We Love” and it spoke about romantic relationships, love between siblings, and love between parents and their kin.

It comes in good timing, as recently my adopted grandmother passed away and two of my closest friends in Sydney moved to the UK.  The mourning is ongoing.  With tragedy comes reflection, and with reflection & “tough times” comes another blog post.

Sew Together: My adopted grandparents before I left for Australia
Sew Together: My adopted grandparents before I left for Australia.
Yesterday at the Good Beer & Cider Festival, I was drawn to a local brew called Nomad.  After college graduation I was lovingly nicknamed “Nomad” when – reluctant to go home & delaying the start of real life as much as possible – I traveled the east coast of the U.S. for a month.  I didn’t have all the destinations mapped out nor did I always know where I was sleeping the rest of the week.  But my friends are awesome and took care of me, however last minute my tendencies (typical). Calling me Nomad was a friend’s nice way of saying, “Get your shit together, but I’ll let you crash at my place until you figure it out.”

So let’s do this Ted Radio Hour style.

Sibling Love

Jeff Kluger of Time magazine said there is nothing “closer, finer, harder, sweeter, happier, sadder, more filled with joy, or fraught with woe than the relationships we have with our brothers and sisters.” Like Kluger, I am one of four. His words were spot on.

I have been back and forth with my siblings all my life. I begrudge them, admire them, copy them, envy them, am embarrassed by them, am proud of them, and would do anything within legal means for them. Some illegal, too, probably.

Sibling Love: First time being all together in over a year, the longest I've been away from home
Sibling Love during my first trip back to the U.S. in May 2015:  First time being all together in a year, the longest I’ve been away from home.
Kluger said that siblings have the greatest impact on our lives because they ride with us from cradle to grave. Being far away from my siblings has not stopped the back and forth. It’s harder because it’s like we’re all in same theme park heaven in Anaheim but I’m at Six Flags while my siblings are at Disneyland.

Being far away makes it easier to avoid confrontation, hold onto a grudge, or widen the gap in an already distant relationship. It also makes it slower to get information, limits the quality of support and comfort in a time of need, and creates helpless consideration. It’s kind of sad that I only realize this now with this blog post: I’ve yet in my adult life to live close to my siblings. The distance makes me actually try harder to maintain relationships and therefore contact my siblings more than I think most people do when they live close to their siblings.

Sibling Vacation: Exploring Oahu, Hawaii
Sibling Vacation: Exploring Oahu, Hawaii.
Three Sisters: Last lunch in San Diego before heading back to Australia
Three Sisters: Last lunch in San Diego before heading back to Australia.
Kluger said that to not maintain a sibling relationship is like letting prime acreage go to waste during harvest season. As an analogy, he said you can always go to the supermarket, but the produce will never be as good or rewarding. I do prefer organic, fresh-off-the-leaf anything. While I don’t always have a green thumb, the effort is worth it.

Father Daughter Love

A line out of emotionally cloudy movies and novels: “I will always be my Father’s daughter.” What does that even mean?

It took growing up and distance for me to figure this one out. Regardless of how angry my dad is about my leaving, how much I broke his heart, how much it pains me to be seen as a disappointment, and how forever hopeless I feel in having his support… He will always be my father and I will always be his daughter. We will always love each other unconditionally. The higher the emotions we exchange the deeper the love.

Daddy's Girl: Viewpoint on the way from Kona Airport to the resort of my sister's wedding site
Daddy’s Girl: Viewpoint on the way from Kona Airport to the resort of my sister’s wedding this past July.
My father and I are intense in interaction because we love each other so much. At the end of the day, that’s what matters. The love reminds me that the tears and slicing comments are tools to mask that love in the form of a fierce offensive to win someone to a preferred side.

Father Daughter: At my sister's wedding in July
Father Daughter:  It was really cool teaching my dad how to dance so he could have the first dance with my sister at her wedding.
At the base of it all, parents want their children to have a better life than they did. There is a lot of knowledge to share, and this knowledge often comes in the form of unsolicited direction that can feel overbearing and not of this time. Moreover, there are some things that cannot be learned with words. I experience this as a coach all the time. I can tell my players what will happen if they don’t spread out and always go straight to goal regardless of how many people are around, but it typically takes having a scary overcrowded moment or an embarrassing defeat that makes them try my coaching tip.

As a kinesthetic learner, I’m OK with figuring out and – maybe – admitting he was right. It would have left me angrier and resentful if I followed the advice from the get-go and always wondered.

This far into the game – getting a pretty stellar job at a high potential technology startup with sponsorship to prolong my stay in Australia & being part of an exciting and accelerated lacrosse movement in Australia – I think my dad feels like he was proven wrong a little. But he continues to warn me that with the improved U.S. economy, I’m working for pennies and saving nothing. Which is probably true. But I’m OK with that for now, too. I love him anyway. And he loves me.

The [un]Romantic “Relationship”

Let’s be real. You only read this far because you’re itching for the juicy stuff.

If you know me, I’ve got commitment issues up the wazoo, am picky as hell, and think all guys are dogs (yes, Bao, I’ve been listening). One of the million personality tests I took this past year revealed that my #1 value in life was a strong marriage. This simultaneously shocked me and made loads of sense.

Before moving to Sydney, I normally played the nonchalant card and about 90-95% of the time I had some sort of love interest. Always someone to text, to crush on, be courted by, or to judge. Many a time I advised friends that the less they try and less they search, the likelier love will come along. As a hardworking, ambitious go-getter, it goes against everything else I do in life. Regardless, with love, I am still of this belief.

My Sister Deserves the Best: Try planning & coordinating 4-day destination bachelorette halfway around the world to a city you've never been to for 10 girls also flying cross-country
My Sister Deserves the Best: Try planning & coordinating a 4-day destination Bachelorette halfway around the world to a city you’ve never been to for 10 girls also flying cross-country.
Of course, I’ve gone against my own advice and am now living the restless frustration of being single AF. I remember once in college going a couple of months without a love interest, and telling my then-roommate about my “dry spell.” About a week later, I met someone.

Too Busy to Care: End of camping & volunteering at the Southern Highlands Challenge 2015, where we supported runners at aid stations and I ran & guided my blind friend in a 6k race
Too Busy to Care: End of camping & volunteering at the Southern Highlands Challenge 2015, where #AchillesRunningGroupSydney supported runners at aid stations and I ran & guided my blind friend in a 6k race.
For the second time in my life I made this “dry spell” statement while in Australia, and months later, I’m still in the same boat. The utter lack of interest I have had in others is weird. By now I’ve had maybe 4 crushes in 15.5 months, “dated” only one, actually asked a dude out for the first time, and have had to confirm my sexuality with a friend or two (I exaggerate, but you get the idea).

Beach Volleyball Champions: 80% of success is showing up.
Beach Volleyball Champions: 80% of success is showing up.
I got so desperate that I came up with a new business idea for online dating, used it as an excuse to act on my curiosity about online dating, and averaged about 2 dates a week for 3 months. Can you say “exhausting”? All them were lame. I threw out the business idea.

Padres > Dodgers: When life throws you a wrench and your visa is delayed in getting approved, spend more time with family & friends and do the most American thing you can -- go to a baseball game
Padres > Dodgers: When life throws you a wrench and your visa is delayed in getting approved, spend more time with family & friends and do the most American thing you can — go to a baseball game.
Third- and fifth-wheeling becoming all-too normal for me, love flaunting its successes via weddings and other Facebook crap, and roommates egging me on to try another dating app, last month I jumped back into the virtual game. While the pool on this app is significantly better, after some pairing down I’m still at 97 matches, about 10% have actually chatted with me, and I’ve only actually met 2 in person. I’m still single.

What do I do with all my time being single? Spend it with a bunch of girls & kids teaching lacrosse.
What do I do with all my time being single? Spend it with a bunch of girls & kids teaching lacrosse.
I go out, I meet people, I’m pretty fit. It’s very different meeting men out here . . . That’s a whole ‘nother story.

Hawaii May 2015: Travel solo. Make a bunch of friends along the way. Lucky as.
Hawaii May 2015: Travel solo. Make a bunch of friends along the way. Lucky as.
The anxiety?

  • I’m aging! I feel like my prime is being underutilized.
  • I’m comparing myself to everyone around me! I feel so behind on life.
  • I’m lonely! I love love, despite sucking at it.
  • I’m bored! This is the first time using that phrase for myself since elementary school. Being single is not so exciting when you’re as square as I am.
  • Where in the world am I going to be in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? No flippin’ idea, and it has a major impact on who I meet and who keeps talking to me.

Of course, the saga continues.

Girl Power: Celebrating my favorite holiday, American Independence Day, in Australia
Girl Power: Celebrating my favorite holiday, American Independence Day, in Australia.
Stating the Obvious

It’s one thing to move to a different city in your home country, and a totally different thing to live in a different city in a different country. There are time zones to work through, clashing culture perspectives to interrupt interpretation, and a wider variety of activity, growth, and direction to compare. Whether you move to a city upstate or across the country or across the world, information exchange becomes selective, shared memories are stunted, and one way or another, you are replaced. You replace others, too.

Thanks Optus RockCorps! (wonderful program where you volunteer for 4 hours and get a free concert ticket): Took the day off to help paint a mural at a community centre, officially checking off
Thanks Optus RockCorps! (wonderful program where you volunteer for 4 hours and get a free concert ticket): Took the day off to help paint a mural at a community centre, officially checking off “help paint a mural” on my list of 100 things to do before I die.
Relationships suffer, enduring ones shine through, new ones are created. Moving and setting up shop elsewhere helps you figure out the pattern on which ones are worth holding on to and which ones are worth investing in to build.

Maid of Honor: How very special it was to be in my sister's wedding
Maid of Honor: How very special it was to be in my sister’s wedding.
One thing that remains the same is that there is always love. At some point in time – eventually and invariably ever-changing – there was and always will be love. How do you show it? Who do you keep it with? Why do you love them? What do you do about your love? (Do you like how I left out the when and where?)

One More Love: This is where I live! This is amazing, yet I still manage to find things to gripe about on this blog.
One More Love: This is where I live! This is amazing, yet I still manage to find things to gripe about on this blog.

How Jackie Got Her Groove Back

What happens when you care too much about what others think and are embarrassed to share uncertainties and what feels like failure? For me, I stop blogging.

Fall 6 times. Get back up 7.

Fall – 1

  • The startup consulting opportunity that I spent over a week negotiating for fell through. After a check-in meeting in September, the CEO told an employee that he should shag me. Disappointed, I sat with the discomfort and poor judgment. Ultimately, I called the CEO and told him I decided to go a different direction.

How I picked myself up – 1

  • I was temping and took a time-sensitive offer to work on a 6-week project with a company in the food industry. The project was monotonous and taught me things unrelated to job skills improvement, but the endless supply of free biscuits (Aussie term for cookies), very kind & praising manager, and income were greatly appreciated.
The first event where I was able to mix different circles/worlds:  an old co-worker from my first job in Sydney at a bar, co-worker from the monotonous job, uni friend of a friend, and lacrosse friend.
Night Noodle Market:  The first event where I was able to mix different circles/worlds – an old co-worker from my first job in Sydney at a bar, co-worker from the monotonous job, uni friend of a friend, and lacrosse friend.

Fall – 2

  • In 6 weeks, the project goal was to get through ~6,000 research reports. Our team got through ~4,000 research reports. The company offered to extend my contract to see it to the end, but I was not into it.

How I picked myself up – 2

  • We agreed to extend my time just a couple extra days, and I used the excuse of going on a long holiday to ease my way out of staying.
  • My roommate was moving to Asia, and asked me to join her on a trip along Australia’s east coast. At first I thought I would only join her for 3 weeks. She made the agenda, I negotiated the price with a travel agency, and we ended up traveling for 3.5 weeks.
After 10 minutes of freaking out, finally made it down under
After 10 minutes of freaking out, finally made it down under

Fall – 3

  • Travel agency screwed up our itinerary and became frustrating to work with, probably because they were annoyed with my negotiating. The prolonged price talks made us book last minute, so we didn’t get everything we asked for/expected. What I get for pissing off people trying to help us.

How I picked myself up – 3

  • Threw in an extra $100 and sucked up the changes, including some crappier hostels and a less-than-ideal boat. If you know me, my reaction to throwing in extra cash after a negotiation / feeling like I got screwed is like losing a championship game. I’m a flippin’ brat & have a terrible attitude.
  • The trip was incredible and eventually extended to about 2 months. It made the rough year of transition so, so worth it. Sense of community expanded, I am the tannest I have ever been in my life, nomadic curiosity satisfied, & I became ready to settle down.
TripAdvisor's 2015 Travellers' Choice named Whitehaven Beach of Whitsundays, Australia #9 of top 25 beaches of the world.
TripAdvisor’s 2015 Travellers’ Choice named Whitehaven Beach of Whitsundays, Australia #9 of top 25 beaches in the world.

Fall – 4

  • Finally met someone worthy of crushing on, and I embarrassed myself atrociously with my lack of grace, awkward/lack of communication, and making some poor judgment calls. Didn’t help that I clung onto every opportunity to revive & progress, despite being told from multiple close friends that he was bad news.

How I picked myself up – 4

  • Swallowed a hard “He’s just not that into you” realization, and gained comfort in understanding his perspective. Let go of what could have been hard feelings, knowing that at the end of the day, feelings got me nowhere. Helped to have a couple of good friends to feeling vomit all over for a good 24 – 48 hours. Binge release.
  • Instead of my typical fall back on, “Boys suck,” I continued to feel ready & open to a relationship. The experience taught me more of what I want in a man. After reading a hilarious & genius Reddit article about a guy’s experiment with online dating, I got the nerve to try online dating for myself.
Canyoning and abseiling in the Blue Mountains for the second time. We got robbed on this trip, but the high of doing cool stuff outweighed the annoyance.
Canyoning and abseiling in the Blue Mountains for the second time. We got robbed on this trip, but the high of doing cool stuff outweighed the setback.

Fall – 5

  • After a ~2-month vacation and the New Year, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Back to temping, applying to everything and anything, and procrastinating on what felt like a tired reflection. January is the slowest time of year for temping, so work was limited and my Australian bank account was basically in a drought.
  • I came to Australia wanting to grow personally and professionally. I have definitely learned a lot personally, and was sad that I hadn’t strengthened professionally. Although I had mixed feelings about going back to the U.S., I was starting to come to grips with heading back home in May feeling like my year abroad was more a travel gap year rather than a strategic growth and development move.

How I picked myself up – 5

  • My roommate saw a Facebook group post advertising a job role, and sent it to me saying he thought of me and wanted to know if I was interested. One and a half weeks later I started my first full-time, long-term, professional job in a year. For someone who loves learning, wants to be challenged, prizes feeling like an important contribution to the world, and whose status has been “up in the air” for a year, it feels friggin’ good.
  • Thanks to 2014, I appreciate stability. (That is, stability in something I care about and want to progress in. Stability just for stability sake – particularly that out of fear – sucks.)
My roommates save rainy Australia Day with an indoor barbie (aka BBQ), episodes of Shark Tank, Frozen the movie, and the Australian version of Cards Against Humanity
My roommates save rainy Australia Day with an indoor barbie (aka BBQ), episodes of Shark Tank, Frozen the movie, and the Australian version of Cards Against Humanity

Fall – 6

  • Nearly blew it after misreading the contract for this worthwhile job opportunity that offered to sponsor my visa pending a performance review in April. Pushed it pretty far in salary negotiations and delayed signing the offer for 4 days. Great first impression.

How I picked myself up – 6

  • Speaking to friends that allowed me to organize my thoughts and see different perspectives, as well as some yoga helped me prepare to have 2 sit down conversations with the CEO about my concerns. The key was that I limited the number of friends I spoke to so that I wasn’t overloaded with information and opinions, and one of the friends I spoke to was excellent at not voicing a steadfast opinion and never used the word, “should.”
  • After realizing my misread and addressing all of my hesitations & expectations from the get-go, I felt even more confident about my decision to take the position. Two weeks in and already the job feels rewarding and satisfies my value of feeling significant.
One of my best friends, Jimmy, was my first visitor in Australia! More than just traveling and sharing my Australia life with him, it was heartwarming & rejuvenating to reunite in person.
Melbourne Sunset:  One of my best friends, Jimmy, was my first visitor in Australia! More than just traveling and sharing my Australia life with him, it was heartwarming & rejuvenating to reunite in person.

What got me through much of this: Both of my sisters reiterated how important it is to know what my values are and let them guide me. While it sounded vague & fluffy at first, ultimately it was what helped me make decisions with confidence – my theme for 2014.

A business coach I met in October offered me a personality test that unraveled my core values. I’ve taken a lot of these kinds of tests, but this one was particularly unique because it asked me the same question in about 4 different ways that disallowed me to answer just because something sounded or felt good. It got me to think of values on multiple levels and scenarios, and it took me hours to complete. The result was eye opening.

Orphans Christmas with others also away from home for the holiday.  They made Christmas as special and good as it could be away from family.
Orphans Christmas with others also away from home for the holiday. They made Christmas as special and good as it could be away from family.

My values in order of priority: Satisfying marriage, close friendships (including actually liking family as friends), physical fitness, relationships with children, travel, work performance, leisure time, recognition, excitement, leadership in a significant organization.

Being specific & clear on what I value helps me quickly & efficiently see if something honors or compliments my values. If it does, it’s an easy & confident yes. If it doesn’t, or is weighted more to values at the bottom of the list, it’s a reassuring no.


I’ve been feeling awful for not keeping up with this blog. Then someone sent me a note:

“Can I tell you something? I followed your journey from the very beginning and it was truly inspiring to me. I bet you never guessed that by sharing your story, you could actually change a life for the better!”

And while this is one of the nicest notes I received, I’ve unexpectedly received a few similar kind notes. Like, multiple. So, while this particular post feels a bit boastful, I hope it serves as another example of sometimes crap needing to hit the fan to get you where you need to go. Whether the result is igniting action, getting rid of something to make room for another, and or just plain listening to the universe so you can finally find peace. I’m a strong believer that sometimes things get so low that, as long as you keep going, the only way left to go is back up.

Up, up, and away.

Sydney Festival giant swing that sits on the beautiful view of Darling Harbour and goes through a manmade waterfall
Giant swing from Sydney Festival that sat on the beautiful view of Darling Harbour and glided through a manmade waterfall

Daddy, You Rock

Daddy, you rock
You’re awesome, wonderful, the best

Daddy, you rock
You shake the waters only when you know it’s justified and worth the effort

Daddy, you rock
You are the symbol of stability, stamina, & endurance in our family. You haven’t and don’t change much.

Daddy, you rock
That’s what you look like in front of the TV, and I so appreciate you letting me curl next to you even at my 20something age, despite my lack of interest for the programming and making the bed/couch uneven and probably obstructing your view.

You rock, daddy
Your hands are rough from years of fine craftsmanship and hard labor, working 7 days a week to this day. You’ve probably lost feeling in a couple of those finger tips- they are stiff & the blackened & dried out white skin chips away abnormally.

Daddy, you rock
You let me do things even when you didn’t/don’t agree with them. You gave me money above and beyond the need- you gave me money for wants even when money was tight & you didn’t fully understand what I was squandering it away on. You made sure I had food to eat & since I can remember you always give me a choice in what it is, even when I complicate things & am slow to make a decision.

Daddy, you rock
You taught me how to drive even though your experience teaching Tina was traumatic. You didn’t hesitate to trust me with the keys and taught me the moment I was legally allowed to get behind the wheel, satisfying my prying yearning for independence and pursuit of free will.

Daddy, you rock.
You inspire me to be a good member of society that finds joy in giving. You are nothing but a giver. You give more than just rocks. You give bundles of skill, talent, benefit of the doubt, anchor, and most of all- a warming, everlasting love that no weather storm nor creature mischief can chip away at.

Daddy, you are my rock.

Can’t sleep and this is what I came up with. I didn’t call my dad for nearly 2 months because I was too scared of getting in another fight and ending another phone call in tears. Finally heard his voice last week. I miss him a lot. We didn’t fight, but oddly enough, I’m still in tears.
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Living With Fear

Bondi Beach:  Pool right next to the ocean, in case people are scared of being pulled out by the current while swimming, so said a local.
Bondi Beach: Pool right next to the ocean in case people are scared of being pulled out by the current while swimming, so said a local.

I received a unique job offer this past week. Initially, it would be a sales role I’ve never done before and question whether I’m actually qualified to do. I would be paid on commission as a trial and only paid if I hit certain targets. In return, the company would offer real-time coaching & training to become a coach & facilitator of workshops that I would be selling. If I hit the target, we’ll start to talk salary as well as the possibility of getting a sponsored Visa where I could stay in Australia longer and have fewer work restrictions. If I don’t hit the targets, I don’t get paid and will not continue with the company. At stake is about 2 – 3 months of no pay for a role that would be time consuming. 

Needless to say, I was scared and unsure of what to do. I want to work with this company, but I’m scared of failing.


It’s funny. I feel like I’m always scared. I remember dating someone last year and when we were in that chatty, getting-to-know-each-other stage, I noticed that I said the phrase “I’m scared” or “I’m afraid” a lot. 

I remember in college I wanted to go skydiving because I wanted to fly, enjoy a longer bottomless pit feel, and fulfill a childhood dream of bouncing through clouds. I wanted to go skydiving, but I was afraid of heights.

I learned through Landmark Education that, in spite of the English language, there are no “but’s.” Instead, there is “and.” I wanted to go skydiving, but I was afraid of heights. “But” implies that only one or the other exists. Both the fear and desire exist simultaneously, so really, it was “I wanted to go skydiving and I was afraid of heights.”

I’m afraid of heights, and I still went skydiving.  To this day, I’m afraid of heights and I still go to amusement parks & seek out the craziest roller coasters, climb trees, hike mountains, and party on rooftops.  Overcoming the fear does not mean the fear went away.  I’m still afraid of heights. I just know how to live with it and not let it get in the way of my experience of life.

How many roommates does it take to change a lightbulb?  Four.  Pictured is the first attempt with just 2 people, with my roommate showing no shared fear of heights.
How many roommates does it take to change a lightbulb? Four. Pictured is the first attempt with just 2 people, with my roommate showing no shared fear of heights.

I went snowboarding last year and spoke about my fear of heights with a friend on the ride up the mountain.

Me:  “The toughest part is going down a mountain and not being able to see the bottom.  I get scared.”
Friend:  “The key is to not think. Just go for it.” 

Act over thought. Don’t think, just do. Thinking will drive me crazy & feel even more rooted in the fear.

In high school I remember missing a shot on goal during a lacrosse game and my coach screamed at me, “STOP THINKING!” I was so confused. How can I not think? What’s the point of that?

It wasn’t until this past year that I realized that I often overthink my moves on the field, and by the time I’ve finally decided on what to do, a defender is on me because I took too long thinking. The opportunity to act was gone. I was afraid of missing.  Sometimes one just has to see it & do it – right away. Don’t give time for fear to engulf oneself like Karl the Fog. Act over thought.

So, the fear exists simultaneously and we have to act on opportunities before it’s too late. How does one live with fear? Jim Carey made an awesome graduation speech where he said that every decision we make is out of love or fear. What do you want your life actions to be made of – love or fear? Do I go skydiving because I love adrenaline-inducing adventure, or do I not jump because I’m afraid of heights? Do I go snowboarding because I love sports, speed, and feeling one with nature, or do I sit in the cabin because I’m scared of heights and getting hurt? Do I take this job opportunity because I love the work, or don’t because I’m afraid of failing? 


The day after skydiving, a friend who skydived with me was scared of public speaking and had to give a presentation in front of his class. He said, “I hate public speaking. I’m terrified of it. But today, I thought, ‘I just jumped out of airplane. If I can do that, I can definitely do this speech!’” 

Do one insane thing that goes against one huge fear, and it can set one up to overcome a bunch of other fears. Exponential effect. If I can talk a couple of people into going skydiving with me even though I’m scared myself, I can talk a few people into going to a workshop for a company that I feel unsure of myself.

My first Australian house party:  OK, so one fear I did get over/grow out of - talking to strangers.  Now, to me, strangers are just possible new friends.
My first Australian house party: OK, so one fear I did get over/grow out of – talking to strangers. Now, to me, strangers are just possible new friends.

So, I haven’t really done anything other than make a decision. I want to work for this company and I’m scared of failing. I’m lucky to have a great sister and a great friend to sort out thoughts & resolutions, and the point is that I focused my thoughts on options and possibilities, rather than the fear itself. Follow-up conversations with the company are on Monday, and thanks to this cathartic travel blog, I feel better about preparing for the conversation.

Thanks for reading. Wish me luck.

What I Take For Granted

Similar to the #100HappyDays trend, a Facebook friend of mine is currently participating in #100DaysOfGrattitude.  It got me thinking of what I’m thankful for, and what I take for granted.  Some of the things I came up with:

  1. Public Transit – While it is often frustrating and in some ways inferior to the SF transit system, as they often say here, “it gets the job done.”  Public transit forces me to pay attention & learn more parts of the city.  In the past it has helped me find faster routes through back streets.
IMG_3865
Inside a Sydney bus, which is actually really nice. Bus drivers are more helpful and more cheerful than most countries I’ve encountered.
  1. The sanctity of a Home, especially one’s Bedroom.  Rearranging furniture makes a big difference in feng shui.
  1. English as a First Language – Having a strong command of a language that I can effortlessly play around with on any level: socially, professionally, diplomatically, romantically, and humorously.  I can connect with people all over the world thanks to its ubiquity.
CoolYule
New friend I met while apartment hunting at Cool Yule “Winter Forest,” Sydney’s annual winter festival

 

IMG_3827
Got connected to a friend of a friend who did a similar gap year bartending in the UK

 

One of my roommates, a Swedish traveller, at a cafe about a block away from our apartment
One of my roommates, a Swedish traveller, at a cafe about a block away from our apartment

 

Celebrating Canada Flag Day:  New Canadian friend I met at a bar through a friend of a friend of a friend.
Celebrating Canada Flag Day: New Canadian friend I met at a bar through a friend of a friend of a friend.

 

  1. Taking Pictures – Being a nomad, I never know how much longer I’m going to be with someone.  I feel like so much change is happening that I wish I had more to look back on.
Sushi Train!:  These are everywhere, and fsushi is actually cheap out here!
Sushi Train! Sushi rolls by on a conveyor belt and you pick whatever you want and pay by the plate. These are everywhere and is actually cheap!
  1. Apps & tech in Silicon Valley – A fellow expat exaggerated that Australia is 20 years behind in technology.  Living in SF was amazing – always being at the forefront of the newest idea & beta/pilot programs, ridiculous free launch parties, and the ability to say, “Have you heard of ___?  Wait, it doesn’t service your area yet?  That sucks!”
  1. People in Hospitality
    • The coat check manager that interacts with countless dolled up socializers and stays behind with a bunch of… stuff… while everyone parties
    • The waitperson who has been on his/her aching feet for the average 8-12-hour shift without a break and has to fake cheerful friendliness to every picky customer
    • The busser that nobody speaks to and smells like crap from everyone’s leftovers but is the #1 reason why customers feel clean and pampered in restaurants
    • The bouncer who stands outside in the cold
    • The bartender whose hands are constantly sticky, subject to cuts from hands always being wet, and must become immune to frat house smell
    • Hotel & tourism staff that have impeded social lives because they have to work when most people are enjoying evenings & weekends
  1. Being a U.S. citizen – Since birth I have been able to roam freely without fear.  I can assert myself, expect respect, and do as I please.  People in Israel can’t.  Not Jews, not Arabs.  It’s hard for me to form an opinion when I have both Arab friends who share stories of gross, violent harassment and discrimination, and a Jewish friend living in Jerusalem in and out of bomb shelters.  It literally made me cry Monday morning, and my heart still feels uneven.  Israel is not the only place stuff like this happens, but, for me, it triggered this appreciation.
Celebrating my favorite holiday, American Independence Day
Celebrating my favorite holiday, American Independence Day
  1. How much I’ve learned and how far I’ve come – I am told often that I need to give myself some credit. So, I’m going to give myself the credit right now:
    • In 2014 alone, I have lived in 7 different places.
    • Not only did I finish & continue #100HappyDays, I started #100DaysOfGrattiude & created my own #100DaysOfTrying/DoingSomethingNew.
    • On a long walk home alone, I stopped by a random game in a park (what they call “ovals” here).  I sat by myself in the bleachers among a crowd of mostly heckling males.  I turned around and asked a stranger, “What sport is this?”
My first Australian Rules game
My first Australian Rules game

It was my first Australian Rules game, a mixture of ultimate frisbee, soccer, & American football.  Eventually I befriended a lovely couple that are parents of 2 of the Australian Rules players, was allowed into the men’s locker room to watch an awards ceremony, & got invited to their after party at a pub nearby.

I showed up to the pub alone and hung out with the Australian Rules team, the parents I met earlier, and a couple of wives/girlfriends.  I was invited to a vacation home in Melbourne and met someone who works for a company that is partners with my former company.  That person has a job role that I would love to have myself.  Informational interview is tomorrow.

    • I went to my first MeetUp in Sydney and met the organizers.  Within a couple of hours of getting to know each other, they offered to create a role for me in their boutique consulting firm.  Conversations to ensue, but I am honored to have someone want to create a role for me in their company so soon after meeting me.  This is the 2nd time this has happened to me.
    • I befriended customers on one of my Chocolate Tours.  They invited me to continue hanging out right after the tour as well as to a party the following week.  It was my first Australian house party, and I had a blast meeting their friends.
Chocolate Tour customers that I befriended.  I gave them my phone to input their number as I finished talking to a vendor, and they took selfies and made it the default background on my phone.  Nice.
New Friends! via my Chocolate Tour.  I gave them my phone to input their number as I talked to a vendor, and they proceeded to make my default background this selfie.
    • I went to a friend of a friend’s birthday party as the 2nd time ever spending time with her, arrived alone, and left with an invitation for coffee and dinner with two new girl friends.
    • I’ve had a couple of conversations with people involved in the lacrosse community in Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney, and apparently my timing is perfect as the desire to redevelop lacrosse in Sydney is recently renewed and looking for support.  More conversations to come, but it looks like I’m going to be able to help grow the sport like I wanted.
    • I progressed to Stage II of an interview process where I had to create and edit a video for my first time.  The mortifying part was that it had to be about myself.  I can barely listen to my own voicemail message, so it was embarrassing to replay my voice AND image for hours as I trial-and-error learned my way through iMovie. I didn’t get the job, but I’m proud of myself for getting it done.  I like what I learned.
    • In a country where tipping is not customary, I finally scored tips on my 5th Chocolate Tour of Sydney.  As early as my 2nd tour, I had a number of people say that I sound like I have done these tours for ages & have lived in Sydney for a long time (ha!).
My 2nd Chocolate T
My 2nd Chocolate Tour
    • I mailed a Thank You card to my Aunt for allowing me to stay with her and for helping me so much with my transition to Sydney.  She texted me saying the card made her cry.

I still don’t have a full-time job.  I still don’t know what I want to do with my life.  At the same time, I’m conscious of where I am, how I’m doing, and what I feel.  I’m listening to myself and respecting & valuing myself enough to invest fully in myself.  Investment meaning more than just spending money on myself, but taking a chance on myself, too.

Sydney National Maritime Museum's Welcome Wall, which documents family names of immigrants who landed in Australia.
Sydney National Maritime Museum’s Welcome Wall, which documents family names of immigrants who landed in Australia. (Click to read passage)

 

A former co-worker changed my life when she told me I was worth it.

Me.

I Am Worth It.

I am being active in pursuing more because I Am Worth It.  I have to remind myself of it every day.

A major theme in my sorority that I never really understood until the last several months:  You get out of it what you put into it. I want all that life has to offer, so I have to give myself fully to it and let it guide me.  Getting spiritual and all that, I get closer to the universe by listening to myself in my most naked form – when I’m not trying to follow a guide (what society/family tells me), when I’m not trying to please someone else, and when I don’t let the emotion of fear become a thought (I can be scared, I just don’t think about it).

Speaking of Spiritual:  St. Mary's Cathedral, the largest cathedral in all of Australia
Speaking of Spiritual: St. Mary’s Cathedral, the largest cathedral in all of Australia
IMG_3974
Is it weird that Gothic-style cathedrals make me want to do yoga? Thanks, San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral & your free yoga Tuesdays.

I do believe each person has a purpose.  Some people force a purpose, and some people figure it out early on.  Some people figure it out later on.  Some people ignore it completely and settle on what gets them by.  To live without purpose is doable and not shameful, but I know it is not the life for me.  There is so much fun and emotional excursions to experience, and I want the best and absolute worst of it.  I prefer extreme to flat and “so so” answers.  I want color, history, depth, a wide range of flavors, space, and feeling like a sponge with no limit to how small and big it can become.

Sydney's Winter:  Leaves just now changing color.  A beautiful joke.
Sydney’s Winter: Leaves just now changing color. A beautiful joke.

While I love a good game and noodling, in every way I am avoiding being a perpetual dude on the bleacher, the lumpy potato on the super comfy couch, or the one saying, “I wish I did that.”  I would rather keep doing a bunch of things to try and figure out what would make me constantly riveted than complain and accept mediocrity.

Here’s my declaration:  As an Amazing Person, I Demand Amazing Things, and therefore Seek and only Do Amazing Things.  Big statement, and I’m totally up for it.

Run, Shoot, Score

The difference between a broke, jobless 22-year-old and a broke, jobless, 26-year-old is basically nothing.  So use those four years to do something crazy, to shoot for the moon.”  –Mark Manson
(I’m obsessed with his articles)

It was good fortune to have been in Boston when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2007 and in San Francisco when the Giants won the World Series in 2012.  A few nights ago I was in Sydney when they won their first rugby State of Origin series against Queensland (Brisbane) after 7 years of losses.

Winning:  State of Origin Rugby Game 2014, Game II of 3
Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down :  NSW (Sydney) winning State of Origin Rugby Game, Game II of 3

Sport is so much more than just a game & having fun.  It’s coming together, finding another excuse to be festive, and spur-of-the-moment celebration.  Watching sport is watching a string of unique juxtapositions of athleticism, desire, and intuitive decision-making.  Each moment can never really be replicated, and knowing this has spectators holding their breath until they are overcome with ultimate glory or ultimate disappointment.  Sport is relatively unpredictable, full of hope, and unifying for those on and off the field.

While carpooling with the former CEO of Bleacher Report and parent of one my youth lacrosse players in San Francisco, this now-CEO coach said he makes a lot of sports analogies for his clients.  I’m seeing that sport parallels life, too.

So how’s my Sydney game going?

My sister always says that I have expensive taste.  A couple of months ago, Sydney was named the 5th most expensive city in the world according to CNN & BBC.  Yet another piece of supporting evidence for my sister.  With apartment hunting and settling into a furnished bedroom yesterday, I am definitely feeling the money crunch.   My new apartment is in Double Bay, an area known for “posh locals,” “Double Bay, double pay,” famous people, and being 5 minutes away from Sydney’s core cluster of mansions.  Kind of reminds me of the Marina of San Francisco.

DoubleBay_AerialGoogle
I live about 3 blocks to the left of the pier nearest the camera. (Poor picture taker this week, so photo is borrowed from Google)

How did I finagle it?  I’m living with a young Aussie couple and 1 Swedish traveller in a 3-bedroom apartment where $1,100/mo rent includes all bills, weekly cleaning service,  and shared household goods like toilet paper, soap, etc.  I’m close to public transit, the water, and am across the street from a grocery store & discount liquor store.  Score!

Apartment hunting comes at a good time when Australia is nearing the end of its financial year and there are sale signs galore.  Benefits of a slightly superior conversion rate ($1.06 USD = 1 AUD) is also handy.  I’m exercising rationalizing between low-cost, convenience, and need.  While GumTree (Australia’s equivalent of Craigslist) can be a steal, traveling 1 – 2 hours for a Free – $20 item is not really worth it.  While OCD me would love to have an organizer for everything I own, I’m choosing to suck it up when it comes to folding instead of hanging clothes, sharing common items for the house in lieu of purchasing private goods, getting creative with how I store things, and becoming attached to my chair/step ladder since this room was clearly designed by a very tall male (I can barely hang a piece of clothing in the wardrobe while on my tippy toes).

Crude Depiction:  My room before rearranging furniture
Crude Depiction: My room before rearranging furniture
Crude Depiction, cont'd:  IKEA is all around me.. I feel it in my room.
Crude Depiction, cont’d: IKEA is all around me.. I feel it in my room.

The usual me would do whatever it takes for the cheapest thing, failing to consider the cost of time, burden on others, and practicality.  There have been times I purchased something just because it was so cheap and never used it.  Now, in an effort to implement the 80/20 rule, I find myself asking, “Would this be something that I would use 20% or 80% of the time?  Would this make a 20% or 80% difference on the ease or joy in my life?”  More growth!

In other news, I got a tour guide job!  Ticking things off an ever-growing bucket list.  Still need another job to make ends meet…  Getting there.

GreatFoodTours_Chocolate
As a tour guide I will lead walking tours of chocolate and cupcakes in Sydney

Lately I’m experiencing exhaustion, long sighs, Ah Ha! moments, feelings of distress & hope & excitement changing at the pace of flipping a coin, and – most notably – heartbreak from a disapproving father.   I guess these are my “fouls” and “penalties.”  Although I’m still unsure of what I’m looking for out here (definitely more reflection needed), living and working abroad is the one thing I know I want.  I wanted something, I set my mind to it, and I’m making it happen.  For the first time in my life, I wanted something based on my personal desires and experiences, not from seeing someone else do it and wanting to copy & – as a natural competitor – outdo them.  When I was in San Francisco, it was like a bad mosquito bite knowing what I had there wasn’t fully it.  I felt so…  Stagnant.

This is me shooting for the goal.  Whether or not I score is up in the air, but you can be sure as hell that I’ll keep running & shooting until the goal is ripped apart.

Flashback to 2007:  Rippin' it senior year of high school
Flashback to 2007: Rippin’ it senior year of high school

As for what goal I’m shooting at, TBD…

Double the Trouble, Double the Fun

In two weeks of being here I have lived in 2 different houses, gone through 2 iPhones, quit 2 jobs, “inspected” 2 apartments (“inspect” is Australian term for view an apartment), introduced 2 new Australian friends to American friends who will meet each other on holiday, and have twice gotten ignored and left behind by bus pick ups.  It’s a good number for learning things the hard way and keeping me on my toes.

Balcony view from the 2nd house I'm staying at.  The house of the sister-in-law of the sister of my uncle-in-law.
View from the house of the sister-in-law of the sister of my uncle-in-law, aka the 2nd house I’m staying at.

I’ve heard myself say, “That’s like Boston/SF/San Diego/Ghana/Barcelona,” so much lately that I began to apologize for it.  The important thing is I have never said, “That’s so weird.”  I have, however, said, “WTF,” and “What did I just move into?”  Some examples of comparisons I made with Sydney:

Like Barcelona:

Found a Gaudi-like public seating area made of a mosaic with every hue of blue.  Natives tend to travel a lot. People are as lax about time as me, and being late is a non-issue.  Public transportation is really nice.  It’s common to not have a dryer and instead hang dry clothing.

Ergonomic cup of delicious coconut hot chocolate.  Gaudi-esque
Ergonomic cup of delicious coconut hot chocolate. Gaudi-esque

 

 

Like San Diego:

Skateboarding, surf shops, and what they call thongs (aka flip flops) everywhere.  Permanent carnival scene on the water – can’t wait to ride that ferris wheel.  Warm beaches you can actually dip into and surf easy waves.  Traffic lights are slow to change and you actually have to press the pedestrian button for the light to go off (how I miss your pedestrian-centric ways, SF).

Luna Park of Sydney, similar to Belmont Park of San Diego or Santa Monica Pier of LA
Luna Park of Sydney, similar to Belmont Park of San Diego or Santa Monica Pier of LA

Like Boston:

Liquor laws are ridiculous.  Alcohol can only be purchased at bottle-o’s (aka bottle shop aka liquor stores) before 10pm, lock outs (aka no entry) to bars occur at 1:30am, and the moment you’re considered drunk the staff must ask you to leave the premises.  Not only do you have to steer clear of the establishment for 50m (~50 yards), if you refuse then you can get fined up to $5,500 AUD and arrested.  Other similarities: there are a good number of old brick buildings & every house is actually unique.

Bottle-O aka Bottle Shop aka Liquor Store
Bottle-O aka Bottle Shop aka Liquor Store

Like San Francisco:

Geography of being on a peninsula, really cool bar themes & cafe culture, population is young-spirited, similar housing prices, murals galore, people enjoy dressing up in costume, lots of like-minded people who are traveling or have moved here from somewhere else. A reverence to pretty bridges.  Health conscious community, lots of runners, bikers, and specialty athletic stores.

Two parties, two different costume themes
Two parties, two different costume themes

Like Ghana:

Milo, Vodafone, and Magnum reign/are everywhere, toilet seat covers & paper towels in public restrooms are a phenomenon.  Smaller-sized cars & a lot of stupid stereotypes that make people afraid of the land, when in reality it’s no biggie.  A lot of people are missing out because of these unfortunate stereotypes.

Things that have blown me away about Sydney:

Sydney makes SF look like a thrift store with prices for food and clothing about 40% higher than SF prices, cars have the right of way, not pedestrians; majority of people very normally take long holidays (several weeks or months-long) and do more than just staycations.  About 20 – 30% of my conversations with Australians is, “What did you say?  Can you spell that [because I can’t understand you]?  What does that mean?  Ohh, so that word in the U.S. means _x_, and in Australia it means _y_.”

It’s still early.  My assessments could be too early and far off.

I probably feel homesick every day, second-guess what the heck I’m doing every other day, and feel frustrated multiple times a week.  I also wake up around 7 – 8am regardless of how much sleep I’ve gotten because I’m pumped to seize whatever the day is willing to give me, my eyes burn from how wide open they’ve been trying to soak in/memorize as much of this land as possible, my jaw is sore from smiling & stress clenching all day, and in some sick way I am enjoying the pain.  I have a lot of positive faith that everything is going to be OK and I’m going to look back at this laughing & rolling my eyes at myself.

Every crappy situation has helped me greatly in a next episode- job hunting by foot got me to learn street names and navigate my way a week later when my phone died and I needed to get home late at night, I got off the wrong bus stop but learned which supermarkets I could go to for food nearby, living super far from the city has given me lots of practice at being able to better command the transit system, getting lost on the way to a housing inspection made me realize just how sketchy the neighborhood is (saw domestic violence & a neighbor call the cops) & easily eliminated an option, missing the bus allowed me to spend time with my aunt and get to know her better, and having my phone die on the bus forced me to pay attention to the scenery (I’ve had a lot of issues with poor battery life).

My aunt's dog, a former stray dog her family rescued
My aunt’s dog, a former stray dog her family rescued

There are other crappy scenarios that have not yet had a direct impact on an immediate following event, but I’m sure it’s all cumulating toward the character building.  Just gotta keep looking for that 2nd perspective.

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

I semipermanently land in a foreign country I’ve never been to before and the first few things I’m worried about are sleep, phone, Tax File Number so I can work, bank account, and now- making money.

Sydney skyline, view from ferry
Sydney Skyline view from ferry

A friend from San Francisco planted a seed in my head a few months ago when I announced my moving to Australia and looking for professional jobs.  His response: “Why do you want to work so hard when you’re over there?  You have the rest of your life to be professional.”

In college I always thought it would be fun to be a bartender.  In San Francisco a friend and I dreamed of making a tour guide business.  So, now that I’m here in Sydney, I’m going to start with those two things first.  Time to stop saying, “I always wanted to do that” or “I wish I had done that,” and just do.

In less than 4 hours spread over 2 days, I secured a bartending job with a bar in a popular district called The Rocks.

My first Australian job:  One of 3 floors, 6 sections in the bar
My first Australia job: One of 3 floors, 6 sections in the bar

Or so I thought I did.

A fine distinction here:  I got a job.  Not the job.  In 3 days of work, they had me as a food runner, a glassy (lesser than a bar back), and managing coat check.  I was given a 1.5-hour lesson in bartending, and that actually made it worth it.

It was good to learn how to hold 3 hot plates at once, learn that providing excellent customer service in hospitality means being as invisible as possible, gain a deep appreciation for restaurant workers (they totally deserve those tips); and realize how disgusting food handling is (your food, plates, and utensils aren’t really that clean. We touch not only your fresh food but everyone’s nasty leftovers, dirty napkins, and spill quite often with very occasional – if at all – hand washing.  If you’re a good & busy worker, there’s simply no time to do it).

Pub, cafe, & hotel are what would be laid back bars in the U.S.  Bars are what would be clubs in the U.S.  Surprise, I signed up for a restaurant that turned into a club at night – far from the type of establishment I was looking to work at.  While this bar would be a place I would love to party at, it was painful to watch everyone else have fun while my feet ached and I was starving in the middle of an 11-hour shift with no breaks.  The small insight into what it really means to bartend is yet another example of when “always wanting to do something” isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Other downsides:  Tipping is not customary in Australia.  Australia has a relatively high minimum wage – $17 – $20 AUD/hour – but what a bartender would make in the U.S. in tips in one night is still significantly more than what a bartender in Australia would make.  In Australia, the tips that might come from foreigners goes into a jar and is split evenly among the entire staff.  Last night that equated to ~$15 AUD/person.  Whoop-tee-doo.

I’m all about hard work, but working this hard for a job I didn’t intend to sign up for doesn’t make sense.  Another punch to roll with, learn from, and move forward from.  Like the song, “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” seems like I just knocked down bottle number 99.  I’ll stay through Thursday (pay day).  “98 bottles” left to knock down, I’m sure.

To end on a high note, I’ve reunited with a college friend who I haven’t seen since graduation, made a couple of new friends, experienced a major event here called Vivid where they have theatrical light shows throughout the city, and have very kind family here who have been incredibly helpful and supportive.  I have also felt comfort in the familiarity of the flip flop-wearing, skate boarding, and beach frequenting vibe around here.

Met a friend of a friend in person at Vivid, one of many light shows behind us
Met a friend of a friend in person at Vivid, also a DSP bro. One of many light shows behind us.
Reunited with a college friend for the first time since graduation
Reunited with a college friend for the first time since graduation

I also witnessed a bloody assault on the street, drunken violence at my bar, and got into a fight with a cabbie that threatened to call the police on me and got out of the car to block me from leaving.  I’m alive, I’m well, some people here are ridiculous.

What else ya got, Sydney?

Being a Full-Time Adventurer

“How does it feel to be unemployed?”
“You mean how does it feel to be a Full-Time Adventurer?”

It’s freeing, exciting, restless, scary, tedious, endless.  The only guiding aim is thrill.  There is an attractive force towards not knowing, and a faithful confidence that you’ll be able to figure it out wherever the waypoint brings you.  You find fun and make every moment worthwhile.  There is no judging what the fun is after the fact; it is feeling fun every step of the way without expectations.

Driving home to San Diego from San Francisco just south of Big Sur and north of Hearst Castle, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a straight, plain road behind me.  In front of me was a road going uphill.  I couldn’t tell what was ahead.  There was a sign that warned of windy curves.  Oddly enough, I was seeing the analogy of my life right then:  I would rather leave behind a straight road that brings the air of rigid, plateaued contentment and move onward to explore a riveting unknown.  While others on the plain, straight road stop and stand and watch, I venture out, clinging onto my replay.

Welcome to Australia
Welcome to Australia: My extended aunt who I just learned existed about 1.5 months ago. She greets me warmly with a sign, mostly because we don’t really know what each other look like.

Paring down my life to 2 suitcases and 2 carry ons was rough.  A man on my flight who I befriended called me high maintenance.  Now that I’m here and living out of my suitcases, I recommend to future me and others to nix shoes (they get ruined) and only bring 1 suitcase, 1 travel backpack, and 1 rolling carry on.   It’s refreshing to understand what you really need to survive, and just how much of what we own is a luxury, oftentimes superfluous.  My appreciation for what my dad and the U.S. have provided me has broadened.  They made life easy and convenient.

My Life
My Life in 2 suitcases and 2 carry ons. High maintenance, well-prepared, or impressive?

Today is Day 4 in Sydney.  So far I’ve learned several differences between U.S. English and Australian English, the power of Smiling and how far it can get you (future blog topic), family history, some basics in navigating Australia, and that lacrosse hubs are in Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide.  Was Sydney the right choice?  Will I move to Melbourne as originally planned, or just make it a point to spread lacrosse to Sydney & turn it into a 4th hub?

For a Full-Time Adventurer, periods of reflection often end with more  questions.